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ParkMan

Increasing adult supprort for Troop activities?

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I recall having a discussion with a mom who was all in a tizzy because Johnnie's wrestling practice might not be done by the time the troop planned to leave to go to camp. When I mentioned, no problem, the camp is only an hour away, just bring him up when you are done, she said, and I quote, "You mean DRIVE him up there?", looking at me like I had two heads.

 

Well yes, I told her, we don't have a chauffeur service. I don't think that went over so well.

 

Scouting is unique, or at least unusual, in mindset among other youth activities in that the presumption is that somehow the troop will come up with drivers. Sports leagues, etc.--if there is a tournament, Johnnie needs to be at the park at such-and-such time and, amazingly, the whole team tends to show up.

 

Change your mindset from "Parent is responsible for getting Johnnie to the drop off point," to "Parent is responsible for getting Johnnie to the ACTIVITY," and there is your solution, at least to the driver problem. YMMV.

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I appreciate the guidance all. These are all helpful.

 

As I'm digging into this role, I'm finding that my predecessor was a "do a lot of it myself" guy. He called parents to get them to drive, he made all the reservations for trips, he planned the join scouting program. He liked taking these jobs on. That's not to say that there are not a lot of parents involved - there are. For example, there's a finance chair and an advancement coordinator, but no membership coordinator or activities chair. My gut sense is that you've got the committee structure for a troop of 30-40, but a group of about 100 boys.

 

It's also a mixture of adult led and boy led. The adults plan about half the trips. The boys plan the other half. Even in the case of the boy led trips, the adults still do transportation logistics.

 

I'm thinking the approach here is to:

- real short term - leverage the committee to get the immediate events staffed.

- short term - establish why a troop committee is important and lay out a plan for building it up.

- mid term - build up the committee

- long term - migrate away from adult led events

 

Thoughts?

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Thing is Brew, if you factor in a half-dozen vehicles on top of the other dozen needed to haul the boys and gear who show up on time. That's more ruts in the road, and may be the tipping point for any farmer who would let this troop pack on his/her property.

 

You want to know ahead of time how many boys you can accommodate with minimal intrusion on your site.

 

I agree that making this a patrol-managed issue is the way to go. Two meetings prior to the trip, each PL reviews the permission slips then during the meeting sounds off how many will attend, who their drivers will be for each leg of the trip, and if there are any unmet transportation needs. If the PL's can't resolve them on the spot, they have a week to make some calls. The issue gets reviewed next week under "old business."

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One more question now that I've reviewed your post ...

 

... The troop has had to cancel trips when a trip's adult leader had to cancel at the last minute. ...

 

Do you mean the "primary" adult? Or, are you talking the 4th-string driver.

 

Also, what is your average distance to your "insertion" or "extraction" points? If it's just those longer distance trips that are a chronic problem: have a plan B location that doesn't involve transportation.

 

Some of the hikes that I plan, actually involve thinking through with the boys alternate insertion points. Once I did have to fall back on a "Plan C" because of heavy rains the week before.

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One more question now that I've reviewed your post ...

 

 

 

Do you mean the "primary" adult? Or, are you talking the 4th-string driver.

 

Also, what is your average distance to your "insertion" or "extraction" points? If it's just those longer distance trips that are a chronic problem: have a plan B location that doesn't involve transportation.

 

Some of the hikes that I plan, actually involve thinking through with the boys alternate insertion points. Once I did have to fall back on a "Plan C" because of heavy rains the week before.

 

The canceled trip(s) where when the primary adult canceled. They made an attempt to find an alternate, but could not. There were others adults that would go, just not anyone who felt comfortable leading a group.

 

It's a mix of which trips have problems - sometimes it's local trips - 20, 30 minutes from home. Sometimes, as was recently, it's longer trips or 2 to 3 hours. Adults who drive can always stay the weekend and camp, though it's not required.

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I agree that this is better handled at the Patrol level, mainly because it keeps the Patrol activities at the Patrol level. But this is one area where someone, usually an adult, also has to keep track of the adults at the troop level to make sure the tour permit is filled correctly (PLC responsibility in our troop) and know who will be staying overnight in the adult camp site. We found an ASM working with the PLs or SPL does very well. Our ASM tries to communicate with the PLs at the meeting before the campout to develop the adult list. It's not a big deal with a small troop, but making sure transportation for big troop as well as adult accommodations requires some coordination between the adults and scouts. Scouts can do 90% of the work, but don’t forget the other 10%. Barry

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I appreciate the guidance all. These are all helpful.

 

As I'm digging into this role, I'm finding that my predecessor was a "do a lot of it myself" guy. He called parents to get them to drive, he made all the reservations for trips, he planned the join scouting program. He liked taking these jobs on. That's not to say that there are not a lot of parents involved - there are. For example, there's a finance chair and an advancement coordinator, but no membership coordinator or activities chair. My gut sense is that you've got the committee structure for a troop of 30-40, but a group of about 100 boys.

 

It's also a mixture of adult led and boy led. The adults plan about half the trips. The boys plan the other half. Even in the case of the boy led trips, the adults still do transportation logistics.

 

I'm thinking the approach here is to:

- real short term - leverage the committee to get the immediate events staffed.

 

Go to the PL's and enlist their help to get their patrol to the events. They have an invested interest in getting there and if that means one of the parents has to bite the bullet, so be it. Short term they can handle it.

 

- short term - establish why a troop committee is important and lay out a plan for building it up.

 

Get them to training so they have an idea of what they are supposed to be doing in the first place, then they can lay out the plan for your troop.

 

- mid term - build up the committee

 

I'd put that more in the long term because of the necessity to train. You really don't need a committee of 50 members. A handful of focused, well trained, dedicated members can do miracles for your program.

 

- long term - migrate away from adult led events

 

I'd toss out the adult led events. Without some skin in the game, the boys are not as apt to support some adult's idea of what is fun. If they enjoy the activity, it doesn't need to be adult led, the boys will figure it out quickly on their own. I'd put this in the very short term.

 

But you say some of the events will be dropped because the boys can't handle it right away? Sure, and how many are being dropped due to lack of interest in getting there in the first place. I would seriously rather do what I want to do than what some adult says I want to do. :)

 

Thoughts?

 

I'd be interested in knowing the attendance ratio between the boy-led activities and the adult-led activities. It might be interesting to know which ones the boys enjoy more as well.

 

To give a bit of what happens with a wee bit of training. My new CC of my new troop, did the on-line thingy. So did my MC that will be doing the $$ stuff. They have decided no ISA's, Everyone pulls their own weight when it comes to fundraising. The parents have a vested interest in covering the cost of camp, no boy left behind unless a scheduling conflict cannot be avoided. No fundraisers are approved unless the boys approve them first.

 

The SM and ASM are notified of these fundraising activities and are encouraged to come if it sounds like fun. Otherwise, the fundraising is directed by the boys and carried out between the boys and their parents.

 

Whether it be fundraisers, service projects, activities, etc. the Committee can only suggest opportunities for the boys. If a parent hears about something that might be fun, they can as well make a suggestion to the boys. The SM can bring in suggestions of information acquired from Roundtables and other sources as well. The boys then decide from all the options what it is that they would like to do and they identify specifically what it is they will be needing support on, i.e. equipment, rides, etc.

 

It has been suggested by the CC and Committee that the ASM and SM focus their involvement in the hands-on programming with the boys, advancement, leadership training, counseling, team-building, etc.

 

The only rule on this whole process is that if one is over 18 years of age, they can no longer be involved in the final decisions. They can lobby all they want, but they can't vote. :)

 

Stosh

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